About Dexter Fergie

Dexter Fergie is a doctoral student in US and global history at Northwestern University. His research examines the history of ideas, infrastructure, and international organizations.

NBN Episodes hosted by Dexter:

Lawrence Glickman, "Free Enterprise: An American History" (Yale UP, 2019)

February 18, 2024

Free Enterprise

Lawrence Glickman
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

“Free enterprise” is an everyday phrase that connotes an American common sense. It appears everywhere from political speeches to pop culture. And it i…

Timothy A. Sayle, "Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order" (Cornell UP, 2019)

February 11, 2024

Enduring Alliance

Timothy Sayle
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization regularly appears in newspapers and political science scholarship. Surprisingly, historians have yet to devote …

Aaron Hiltner, "Taking Leave, Taking Liberties: American Troops on the World War II Home Front" (U Chicago Press, 2020)

June 21, 2022

Taking Leave, Taking Liberties

Aaron Hiltner
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

During the Second World War, locals in Australia and Britain described American GIs as “overpaid, oversexed, and over here.” But this conflict between…

Mia Bay, "Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance" (Harvard UP, 2021)

December 9, 2021

Traveling Black

Mia Bay
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

Mobility has been central to the American identity—think of the automobile, the perceived freedom that comes with it, the open road—but Black American…

Samuel Moyn, "Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War" (FSG, 2021)

November 10, 2021


Samuel Moyn
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

Geographic and temporal limits have typically contained modern wars—rulers can ask their populace to risk lives and treasure only for so long before l…

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, "The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen" (Columbia Global Reports, 2015)

September 10, 2021

The Cosmopolites

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

What does citizenship—an institution that has historically linked identity to place—mean in an age of globalization? This is the question that Atossa …

Karen Gram-Skjoldager et al., "Organizing the 20th-Century World: International Organizations and the Emergence of International Public Administration, 1920-1960s" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

August 30, 2021

Organizing the 20th-Century World

Karen Gram-Skjoldager, Haakon Andreas Ikonomou, and Torsten Kahlert
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

The history of international organizations has been an exciting area of research in recent years, with such landmark studies as Stephen Wertheim’s Tom…

Christopher M. Elias, "Gossip Men: J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and the Politics of Insinuation" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

August 24, 2021

Gossip Men

Christopher M. Elias
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

If information is power, then so too is gossip. In Gossip Men: J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and the Politics of Insinuation (U Chicago Pre…

Benjamin Allen Coates, "Legalist Empire: International Law and American Foreign Relations in the Early Twentieth Century" (Oxford UP, 2019)

July 15, 2021

Legalist Empire

Benjamin Allen Coates
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

It might seem somewhat paradoxical that in the Wars of 1898 and their aftermath—the era in which the United States expanded its imperial reach deep in…

Christopher R. Dietrich, "A Companion to U.S. Foreign Relations: Colonial Era to the Present" (John Wiley & Sons, 2020)

April 8, 2021

A Companion to U.S. Foreign Relations

Christopher R. Dietrich
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

The field of US foreign-relations history is not what it used to be, and that’s a good thing. Earlier historians narrowly defined the field as diploma…

K. Mistry and H. Gurman, "Whistleblowing Nation: The History of National Security Disclosures and the Cult of State Secrecy" (Columbia UP, 2020)

January 13, 2021

Whistleblowing Nation

Kaeten Mistry and Hannah Gurman
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

In the past decade, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden became household names. They were celebrated by many as truth-tellers who blew the whistle on g…

Alan McPherson, "Ghosts of Sheridan Circle: How a Washington Assassination Brought Pinochet's Terror State to Justice" (UNC Press, 2019)

December 15, 2020

Ghosts of Sheridan Circle

Alan McPherson
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

On September 21, 1976, a car bomb exploded in Washington DC, killing a former Chilean diplomat named Orlando Letelier and his American colleague Ronni…

David Vine, "The United States of War: A Global History of America's Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State" (U California Press, 2020)

November 13, 2020

The United States of War

David Vine
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

Since its founding, the United States has been at peace for only eleven years. Across nearly two-and-a-half centuries, that’s a lot of war. In his new…

Michael Stamm, "Dead Tree Media: Manufacturing the Newspaper in Twentieth-Century North America" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2018)

October 29, 2020

Dead Tree Media

Michael Stamm
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

Michael Stamm’s book Dead Tree Media: Manufacturing the Newspaper in Twentieth-Century North America (Johns Hopkins UP, 2018) begins with the simple b…

Victor McFarland, "Oil Powers: A History of the US-Saudi Alliance" (Columbia UP, 2020)

September 17, 2020

Oil Powers

Victor McFarland
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is a critical feature of the modern international system. It binds the global hegemon to a…

Thomas Borstelmann, "Just Like Us: The American Struggle to Understand Foreigners" (Columbia UP, 2020)

August 7, 2020

Just Like Us

Thomas Borstelmann
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

The American attitude towards outsiders has always been ambivalent. The United States, it is commonly said, is a nation of immigrants; today, it’s the…

Alanna O’Malley, "The Diplomacy of Decolonisation: America, Britain, and the United Nations during the Congo Crisis, 1960-1964" (Manchester UP, 2020)

June 26, 2020

The Diplomacy of Decolonisation

Alanna O’Malley
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

In the summer of 1960, the Republic of the Congo won its independence from Belgium. Only one week later, however, Belgium had already dispatched parat…

Alexander Zevin, "Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist" (Verso, 2019)

May 6, 2020

Liberalism at Large

Alexander Zevin
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

The Economist is a curious publication. It always takes a point of view (as opposed to the all-the-news-that’s-fit-to-print approach). It maintains a …

Abraham Newman and Henry Farrell, "Of Privacy and Power: The Transatlantic Struggle over Freedom and Security" (Princeton UP, 2019)

April 27, 2020

Of Privacy and Power

Abraham Newman and Henry Farrell
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

We live in an interconnected world. People, goods, and services leap across borders like never before. Terrorist organizations, like al-Qaida, and dig…

Asa McKercher, "Canada and the World since 1867" (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)

April 10, 2020

Canada and the World since 1867

Asa McKercher
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

If you haven’t been able to tell by the way I pronounce the word “about,” I should probably let you know that I’m from Canada. And I have to make a co…

Jon Piccini, "Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

April 3, 2020

Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia

Jon Piccini
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

After the Second World War, an Australian diplomat was one of eight people to draft the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. And in the years that follow…

Jeffrey James Byrne, "Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order" (Oxford UP, 2016)

March 4, 2020

Mecca of Revolution

Jeffrey James Byrne
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

In his brilliant, category-smashing book, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (Oxford University Press, 2016), Jef…

Diana Lemberg, "Barriers Down: How American Power and Free-Flow Policies Shaped Global Media" (Columbia UP, 2019)

February 28, 2020

Barriers Down

Diana Lemberg
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

Since the 1940s, America’s relations with the rest of the world have been guided by the idea of promoting the free flow of information. It’s an idea t…

Jessica Lynne Pearson, "The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa" (Harvard UP, 2018)

January 15, 2020

The Colonial Politics of Global Health

Jessica Lynne Pearson
Hosted by Dexter Fergie

International organizations throw up several obstacles—their immense scale, their dry bureaucratic language—to the historian trying to piece together …